Since the Trump Administration took office, reports of information going missing from government websites have caused confusion and worry. Volunteers from government and civil society have been working to preserve as much online government data as possible, with groups like the End Of Term Harvest and DataRefuge bringing archivists and hackers together to harvest data and other information from government websites.
Today, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on the FBI’s use of facial recognition technology, raising serious secrecy and privacy concerns about the collection and sharing of such biometrics data. The hearing is the first time the FBI has been forced to testify, under oath, at the same table as the privacy advocates who have been calling for greater scrutiny of the FBI’s biometric information collection and sharing programs for years.
WASHINGTON, March 21, 2017 – Today, a coalition of organizations dedicated to government openness and accountability, privacy, human rights, civil rights, and immigrant rights wrote to the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security to urge them to address concerns stemming from recent executive actions on immigration and refugees.
OpenTheGovernment.org (OTG) is pleased to announce its new Executive Director, Lisa Rosenberg. Lisa joins OTG today, March 20, 2017. She succeeds Patrice McDermott, who is retiring after more than a decade leading the organization.
Lisa Rosenberg , Incoming OTG Executive Director, said:
“I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to lead OTG’s engaged community of organizations working to make the government more open and accountable. This work is more important than ever and I look forward to getting started.”
In the spirit of Sunshine Week, and National Freedom of Information Day, Senators Feinstein, Leahy, Cornyn, and Grassley sent letters to the Trump Administration on March 15, 2017, calling for full compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and strong implementation of the 2016 FOIA reforms. The letters request information on the specific steps that are underway to carry out the reforms passed last year, and to improve proactive disclosure of information.
On March 3, Senators Claire McCaskill and Tom Carper wrote to White House Counsel Donald McGahn, voicing their concern about reports of White House officials using personal electronic messaging accounts while conducting official business, and asking that he ensure that President Trump and his staff are complying with the Presidential Records Act (PRA).
Sunshine Week 2017 will take place March 12th to 18th, throughout Washington, DC, and across the country. On Wednesday, March 15th, OTG is co-sponsoring an event at the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center, featuring a panel discussion hosted by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and the Newseum Institute, Accessing Information in the Trump Administration.
We’ve written previously about the End Of Term Harvest and other ongoing efforts to preserve access to online government information as the Trump administration takes office. The EOT Harvest team, made up of volunteers from government and civil society, are still collecting crowdsourced nominations for government URLs to harvest and preserve.